What to know ahead of potentially dangerous hurricane season

May 29, 2024
If and when disaster strikes, the AOA Foundation’s Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief is here to help ease the burden for doctors of optometry and students.
Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief

A combination of “extremely active” air and ocean conditions may be the cause of a dangerous storm season this year across the Atlantic, according to a recent Axios article.

With climate change as a key driver, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seasonal outlook is forecasting the season “will bring 85% odds of an above normal season, with 17-25 named storms of tropical storm intensity or greater, eight to 13 of which will become hurricanes, and four to seven major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.”

With record to near-record warm ocean waters in every part of the Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA believes warm water will fuel this more active hurricane season.

"While seasonal hurricane forecasts can't tell us when or where a storm might strike, the record warm waters through the Caribbean and Gulf combined with a potential La Niña does stack the deck in favor of development farther west in the Atlantic this year and potentially closer to land areas,” stated Michael Lowry, a hurricane and storm surge specialist for WPLG Local 10, in an email to Axios.

Disaster relief for doctors in need

Hurricanes are extremely dangerous and can cause significant property damage and bodily injury. With a higher possibility of U.S. landfall this year, the risk of danger only increases. Doctors of optometry can often be resources for their communities during a crisis. However, when they themselves are affected by a natural disaster, Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief (OFDR)—a program of the AOA Foundation—is a powerful source of support, relief and recovery. This support is vital in helping optometrists resume their practices, ensuring that community members continue to have access to essential eye care services.

Did you know?

Since its inception in 2005, OFDR has provided over $1.4 million dollars in aid to over 700 optometrists across the country.

Qualifying disasters include, but are not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, civil unrest, earthquakes, floods and fires. OFDR is available to aid doctors who have experienced property damage to their home or business due to a disaster situation.

Optometry students are also now eligible to receive financial assistance of up to $250 from OFDR. Please note that the fund is set up to cover property damage to an optometry student’s home or possessions.

“With 2024 already proving to be one of the most active years for tornadoes and inclement weather events, the potential for a highly active hurricane season is also present,” says Sarah Link, OFDR Committee chair and executive director of the Mississippi Optometric Association. “As we move into the summer, please keep OFDR in mind, both for disaster relief and for making donations to help your fellow doctors of optometry. OFDR can serve as a swift source of immediate funding to help you meet urgent needs after disaster strikes and property damage is inflicted on your office or home.”

How you can support the AOA Foundation

Disasters are unpredictable and life-altering, but the AOA Foundation is determined to ensure OFDR is always ready to help doctors of optometry, as well as optometry students, overcome challenging times. Your support helps Optometry Cares support programs such as OFDR. Here's how you can support OFDR or find grant information:

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